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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Long lost ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ found buried under volcanic ash, New Zealand researchers say

Scientists in New Zealand say they have discovered the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” But there is a caveat.

It’s buried under hundreds of pounds of volcanic ash.

Using the forgotten 1859 New Zealand diaries of 19th century geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter and maps he made during that time period, forensic cartographers Rex Bunn and Sascha Nolden were able to pinpoint the exact location of the famed and elusive pink and white terraces of Lake Rotomahana on New Zealand’s North Island.

“Forensic cartography is described as part science and part art,” the researchers wrote in the introduction to their academic paper.

The terraces, which were the largest deposits on silica on earth, were for years a global attraction – drawing tourists from around the world in the mid-19th century to gawk at the famed pools and bathe in the heated waters of their springs. But in 1886, before the exact location of the springs was properly described and mapped, the nearby Mount Tarawera volcano erupted and buried the terraces under 50 feet of ash and mud.

“They [the terraces] became the greatest tourist attraction in the southern hemisphere and the British Empire, and shiploads of tourists made the dangerous visit down from the U.K., Europe and America to see them,” Bunn told the Guardian last week. “But they were never surveyed by the government of the time, so there was no record of their latitude or longitude.”

The volcanic eruption also vastly altered the surrounding landscape and made it all but impossible for the exact location of the terraces to be marked.

Using von Hochstetter’s field notes – the German-Austrian geologist was the only person to have surveyed the landscape before the 1886 eruption – the Kiwi researchers, however, were able to determine the precise location of the buried terraces.

“Our research relied on the only survey ever made of that part of New Zealand and therefore we are confident the cartography is sound,” Bunn said. “Hochstetter was a very competent cartographer.”

Bunn is now in the process of getting funding to excavate the site of the terraces, which he believes may have only suffered minimal damage from the volcanic ash and could potentially be brought back to their former glory.

“We want to undertake this work in the public interest. And I have been closely liaising with the ancestral owners of the land, the Tuhourangi Tribal Authority, and they are supportive and delighted with the work,” he said.

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June is National Men’s Health Month

 

Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country. The goal of this national observance is to increase awareness about the preventable health problems in men and promote early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men. This month gives healthcare providers, friends, family, and the media a chance to encourage men to seek regular medical advice for disease and screenings. Please see list of exams below:
  • Physical Exam. Needed every year or more often if recommended by your provider. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
  • Testicular Exam. As the number one cancer for men between 15-35 years of age it is important to check your-self frequently and discuss an exam with your doctor during your physical exam.
  • Blood Pressure Screenings. Needed every 2 years unless it is elevated than it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Cholesterol Screenings. Needed every 5 years unless it is elevated than it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be checked. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Diabetes Screenings. Needed if your blood pressure is above 135/80, you have a BMI of over 25 in addition to other risk factors, or you have an out of range glucose or A1C reading. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Dental Exam. Needed 1-2 times per year. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
  • Eye Exam. Needed every 2 years or more often if recommended by your provider. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
See what activities are going on in your community that relate to this month and don’t forget to wear blue on the Friday before Father’s day (6/16) to support the cause.

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Air Force cadet creates bulletproof breakthrough

Air Force cadet Hayley Weir had an idea that turned out to be a game changer. “It was just the concept of going out there and stopping a bullet with something that we had made in a chemistry lab.”

The 21-year-old Weir approached Air Force Academy Assistant Professor Ryan Burke with the idea. He was skeptical.

“I said, ‘I’m not really sure this is going to work, the body armor industry is a billion-plus-dollar industry,” he noted.

Weir’s idea was to combine anti-ballistic fabric with what’s known as a shear thickening fluid to create a less heavy material to use in body armor. She demonstrated the principle to Burke by combining water and cornstarch in a container and asking the professor to jam his finger into the paste-like goo.

“I jam my finger right into this bowl, and I almost broke my finger! Hayley’s laughing because I’ve got this finger that I’m shaking and I’m saying, ‘You know, that’s pretty impressive stuff.'”

Convinced, Ryan worked with Weir for several months in a small lab at the Air Force Adacemy in Colorado Springs. They were helped and advised by Dr. Jeff Owens, Senior Research Chemist at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

They tried combining several different ingredients to come up with the exact formula for the shear thickening fluid, and the correct way to layer it with ballistic fibers.

“The pieces are not new,” Weir explains, “everything that we’ve used in there has been researched (before) in some capacity for ballistics protection.”

They tested their combinations on the firing range, failing time and again, until one day their quarter-inch thick design repeatedly stopped a round fired from a 9mm handgun.

Weir and Ryan’s excitement was tempered by the range safety officer who pulled his .44 Magnum and told them bluntly, “This will fail.”

Ryan says, “We loaded it in and it stopped it. And it stopped it a second time, and then a third time.”

They realized they had hit on something special, that could potentially lighten the average 26-pound body armor kit worn by servicemen in the field by as much as two thirds.

“This is something that our competition doesn’t have right now,” Weir explained. “And with this advantage our soldiers, if they wear this body armor, will be able to move faster, run farther, jump higher.”

Body armor for the military and first responders may not be the only thing that can be improved by the new fabric. It could possibly be used to reduce or replace the thick metal plates that protect military aircraft, tanks and other vehicles.

“And there’s some significant gravity and weight behind that,” Ryan said. “And what it could mean for people like my friends who are still active duty in the military, that are going downrange, serving overseas.”

A patent for the as yet unnamed design is pending, and if money is ultimately made, the Air Force will share the profits with Weir, Ryan and Owens.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s that great of an achievement,” Weir muses, “just because it’s been something that we’ve enjoyed doing.”

The Air Force believes it is definitely a great achievement. They are providing the newly graduated 2d Lt Weir with a full-ride scholarship to Clemson University, where she will earn her Master of Materials Science and Engineering, before returning to the Air Force to continue her work.

Alicia Acuna joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as a general assignment reporter based in the network’s Denver bureau.

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